White Deer Land Museum

White Deer Lands Advertised – Booklets And Exhibit Building

Lands, T.D. Hobart inaugurated a plan of selling the lands in small tracts, ranging in size from 160 to 640 acres, to settlers only. The terms of the sales were usually one-fifth cash and the balance in 2,3,4,5,6,7,and 8 years respectively from date of purchase with interest at the rate of six percent per annum. No payment was required for the first year after sales were made so that purchasers could make improvements on the land, such as building substantial residences, fencing, providing water, and other necessary improvements. Settlers were required to set aside thirty feet along the borders of the land for roads, and no stock were to be turned loose until the land was fenced with three strands of wire. Every possible inducement was given to the purchasers to improve the property and to build permanent homes. Hundreds of stock farmers, with little or no money, began the task of building a civilization on the rolling prairies of the White Deer Lands. With out the credit features in the sale of the lands instituted by Hobart many of these early stock farmers could not have remained. Suits were never brought against failure to make annual payments. If lands were relinquished by the purchasers, every effort was made to find a new purchaser to reimburse the original settler for whatever improvements he had made. Hobart ‘s plan in the disposition of these lands was unique in that he sold lands directly to settlers only and without the aid of any outside agencies.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

In 1905 Hobart had several thousand booklets printed for free distribution to prospective purchasers. When trains stopped at Pampa for water, these booklets were given to interested persons. Since outside agents were claiming that it was not possible to obtain clear titles to White Deer lands, Hobart included letters from attorneys who attested that clear titles were obtainable.

Several maps showed the location of the lands. A section on topgraphy included an early explorer’s description of the climate: “Perhaps no part of the habitable globe is more favorable to human existence, as far as the atmosphere is concerned. … This immense grassy expanse is purged from impurities of every kind and the air imparts a force and vigor to the body and mind, which repays the occupant in a great measure for his deprivations; nature has conferred upon him health, the first and best of her gifts.”

In addition to an explanation of the mode of selling land, the booklets included information on soil and vegetation, water supply, railroad facilities, taxes and county government, rainfall, crops, ideal planting time and diagrams for planting. Pictures of the Pampa schoolhouse (1903) and a number of farm scenes were included. Testimonials from farmers near Miami and in Carson County told of successful crops.

In 1905 and 1906, large immigration companies ran regular homeseekers’ excursion trains from Chicago , St. Louis and other points in the North into the Texas Panhandle. Transportation was free to those who purchased land. When these trains reached their points of destination, they were parked along railroad sidings for several days at a time while scores of land agents took the homeseekers to observe the lands listed with their companies. Trains were closely guarded so that individuals or corporations not listed with the immigration companies could not contact the prospective buyers.

In 1906 Avery Turner, Passenger Agent at Amarillo , granted permission for Hobart to construct a small exhibit building on the railroad right-of-way near the depot at Pampa . Around the building farmers displayed their produce which included pumpkins, watermelons, wheat shocks, squash and tomatoes. An employee of White Deer Lands was stationed at the building to hand out descriptive literature and booklets. The sign in front of the building read:

of Gray County
Good farming Lands
for sale in tracts of 160 to
640 to Homeseekers prices
range from $10 to $15 per acre
Liberal Terms and Low rate of
White Deer Lands
Apply to T.D. Hobart, Agent
Pampa , Texas

The enraged immigrant land agents began to circumvent the effectiveness of the exhibit buiding. They left the main part of their trains about half a mile from the Pampa station. They detached their engines and brought them to Pampa for the needed water. Then they returned to the trains to attach the engines and come through Pampa at a high rate of speed so that the passengers could not alight and see the products on display.

In early September, 1906, Hobart received a letter from one of the Chicago immigration agents. The agent began: “I confess that I was getting ready to slug one of your agents who persisted in handing booklets into my car (train). He seemed to be a little light in the upper story and a few questions asked him, caused him to so tangle himself that he did us no harm.”

The Chicago agent then proposed for Hobart to join him in selling land in a way that would exploit land buyers. In a terse letter Hobart informed the Chicago agent that he did not employ outside agents. Hobart concluded: “I have been in Texas some 24 years, and my knowledge of Texas people convinces me that they do not take kindly to sluggers, and I have known the results to be very unpleasant. Just keep your sluggers in Chicago , and I feel sure they will enjoy much better health than if they attempt to apply their vocation here.”

The feud between Hobart and the outside agents became more heated. The outside agents resorted to any kind of strategy to prevent buyers from getting information about White Deer Lands. Their secretive methods aroused the suspicions of the homeseekers and Hobart ,’s booklets continued to be in great demand. This stirred the anger of the outside agents to its highest pitch and in retaliation two nightly raids were made on the exhibit building. On one occasion Hobart had the Sheriff and a Deputy stationed to preserve order.

Railroad officials were concerned because they furnished the excursion trains to the Southwest and were greatly interested in seeing that the lands along their lines were settled and developed. Hobart, who did not want to embarrass the railroad officials, wrote to Avery Turner, giving a detailed account of the differences between himself and the immigrant agents. By that time he thought that his best advertising came from the people who had examined what White Deer Lands had to offer and told others about it.

The produce of farmers on White Deer Lands was displayed at the exhibition building during the summers of 1906-07-08. Then Starkweather, Superintendent of the Santa Fe at Amarillo, ordered the White Deer Land Company to remove the exhibit building from the right-of-way. For a time the building served as an office for J.N. Duncan, first mayor of Pampa . Then it was moved to Fairview Cemetery and used to house tools and equipment.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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